Sunday, February 08, 2009

Cross-Country Lunacy

I'm always a little dazzled by the size and efficiency of American FBOs. There is a sufficient number of rich people who travel by private aircraft in the US to support an industry of impeccable high end service. If you're wealthy enough to charter or buy a jet to go straight to where you want to go, then you have high expectations. And as I mentioned there are many choices of where to land, so if one place is a little grungy, or doesn't have highly attractive and attentive staff, complimentary espresso and scented hand lotion, then you can go somewhere else. I pay for our fuel, double-checking the quantity and grade, and then pull up my flight planning program.

My coworker comes over and I show her our tailwinds. "We can go right to Texas with no intermediate stop, if you're feeling fine for the long day." It's within our duty day, and she's happy with it. I call the flight follower and the customer who will pick us up at destination, and we're off.

The airspace here isn't busy and we're cleared south as soon as we're radar identified. There's a place on the map called Le Roy and I accidentally call it "Le-Wah" as if it were a French name. My coworker cracks up and corrects "LEE-Roy! We're in the States." I declare my new hobby to be pronouncing American place names as if they were French. I wave to day-twah, eel-ee-nwah and sharl-vwah, which leaves me wondering, how do Americans pronounce Charlevoix? Tcharl-voyks? Anyone know?

The sky darkens as we approach Cincinnati on the GPS. We've left ATC flight following, so my copilot is looking up whether we have to call them at our altitude "Cincinnati International KY," she says. "What's the K-Y for?"

"Like the jelly," I deadpan. "The airport is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson." I have no idea. She doesn't kick me, so I push my luck. "Maybe it's in Kentucky?" I suggest, then lapse into my badly sung version of "Living in the air in Cincinnati ... WKRP!" As God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly. It turns out that Cincinnati is in Kentucky. This surprises both of us. We think of Cincinnati as a northern city, but Kentucky as a southern state. The things you learn looking at the GPS.

Our pass through the airspace of a rapid succession of states. We're passing the area where many states narrow towards the Mississippi and the shape is such that our track keeps cutting their borders. We have cheesy jokes to make about all of them, but fortunately we don't remember more than one line from any associated song.

I like flying long distances, letting state after state pass beneath my wings. The sun has gone down and we're seeing the lights of all these cities, with slightly different coloured streetlights and different patterns of streets. But my coworker is bored. I teach her the CFS game. I know I blogged about it before but I can't find the entry to link it, so here are the rules. Take a newish copy of the CFS (spine unbroken) and open it at random. If there is an airport on that page that you have been to as a pilot, score zero. If there is no airport you have used, turn pages until you find one, and score one point for each page you turn. Once each person has found an airport they have used, you open it at random again. You play to a predetermined score or until it's time for the top of descent checklist. Lowest score wins. I was leading beautifully until we got to a letter, I can't remember which one it was, but there were a lot of airports starting with that letter and they were all in parts of the country I hadn't been, or had flown over without landing. I think I scored about 35 points before I finally found an airport I'd been to, and I remember it was some totally obscure Indian reserve somewhere. My coworker is laughing at me because I've been there, but have never landed at any of the civilized southern places dominated by that initial. Hey, as long as she was entertained.

Approaching destination we pick up the ATIS and it's information Hotel. "Yes, we're staying at the Best Western!" quips my co-worker, referencing an old, old pilot joke. I think she would have said it on air, too, except that the air traffic controller knows that joke too, thus is too smart to say, "Confirm you have Hotel." Instead she says "Do you have ATIS information Hotel?" She gives us a vector for a wide base, following a Citation on a close in base. It's a good way for ATC to deal with slow and fast traffic together, but it's tricky for me turning final when I know there is an airplane between me and the runway that is on base. There's no way I will get down final fast enough to cut him off, but I'm turning towards an airplane I can't see, while he's on a track in my direction.

We land and taxi to the FBO where we have arranged hangarage, but tonight is their company party, so the lone individual on duty is the one who doesn't know anything. We park outside and let them sort it out when a manager gets in tomorrow morning. Or tomorrow afternoon, depending on how good the party was.

Yeah, I know: we park outside in Montréal and inside in Texas. You fear the unknown, and the boss is more concerned about hailstorms and tornadoes than icestorms. There's a full moon out; maybe that's why we're so goofy tonight.

Oh and Callsign Echo? You're still on the hook for that word you mentioned. Spit it out.


X-av8r said...

How do Americans pronounce Charlevoix? I've always heard it as Shar-lah-voy. Enjoyed your lunacy. It would be fun flying with you guys. Ike.

Anonymous said...

The airport is in KY, the city is in OH ;)

Syrad said...

As you go north in Michigan the French names are pronounced more and more like actual French. So, you get the totally incorrect Dee-troyt for Detroit and the merely slightly midwesternized Shar-lah-voy for Charlevoix.

Anonymous said...

Now I've seen EVERYTHING.

I'm a Texan, but haven't lived there in years. I hope you enjoyed the food and the generally nice people down there.

Don't put yourself down as a "wing-whore." You are an "aviation aspirant." Whatever. Keep doing what you're doing, and the rest will work out.

Speaking of atrocious French- why do the middle of the mid-Westerners (Chicagoland) down here truly butcher the language?

"Dez Jar Danz," Desjardins (surname, place name).
"Whores Derves," involving hangovers and snotty attitudes.
"Soo flay," ostensibly a fluffy creme-patissiere conflagration. Wait, that's correct isn't it!?

My two faves, in print form:


While I can be sad about how stupid we are becoming, at least we're doing it in a funny way.

All the best. I'll stop commenting for a while. Very best of luck.

Just Another Captain Elsewhere

Dafydd said...

So - FBO's - Basler Flight Service have one at Oshkosh ( I'm getting there )Did you ever look at the link I suggested could appeal - - or did you already know about their uber cool conversions ?

zb said...

The side-notes on French vs. American/Canadian English in this blog are just as funny as Wherethehellisphils' occasional side-notes on German vs. English (Spaa-kling Woo-tah).

And I do wish to learn about Callsign Echo's German vocabulary. I really want to know the outlawed thing, be it Neunundsechzig or something else...

N6349C said...

Bienvenue a Texas! Ici nous avons deux metres de soleil, pas de niege! (language toggle)
Cincinnati is in Ohio, although some of the suburbs are across the river in Kentucky, including at least one regional airport. My favorite is Clermont County/Batavia, (not pronounced "klair-mohh") on the East side. I have done the Ontario to TX route myself, and always stop there for relatively cheap fuel and whatever looks good at Sporty's.

Anonymous said...

The 'Cincy' airport is in Covington, Kentucky - just bridges from Ohio - hence the CVG.

steve said...

just guessing callsign Echo's word..."aschmousen? " (sp?)

I once worked for a USA employer's UK branch, they decided to open a German factory at Sarrbruken.....the german initial staff were bought to the UK for training...of the diverse team, only one youngster could speak any English. "my" trainee was a mature man who had been a Tank-commander in the war and was proud to inform me that he had a British Motorcycle-a "Narghtink" took a bit, but we worked out it was a NORTON :-)...he taught me "that" word,among others....another that stuck, was GERVINDERSCHNEIDER...wonderfully evocative of a tool for cutting screw-threads- "tap" in English.....then the fun of explaining why it COULD be a light blow, a device for controlling the flow of gas or liquid... they learned "shtek en sheeps" "rosbiff"...and that was virtually their diet for about 3 weeks...sorry bit of thread-drift (again!)

A Squared said...
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Aviatrix said...
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zb said...
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zb said...
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Aviatrix said...
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Aviatrix said...

That wasn't a flame war or a spate of people misbehaving. It was just one misplaced comment, and me unable to keep up with the comments and subsequent apologies without making a mess.

Discussion is on the relevant blog entry.

I do want the discussion to continue, just not on every blog entry.

Linn said...

Information hotel, that reminds me of the VOR of the biggest airport of the capital of our neighbouring country where we fly all the time. That country is Finland, the capital is of course Helsinki and the airport Helsinki-Vantaa (or just Vantaa). And the airport VOR? HEL. You might imagine a lot of quips/puns right there. The traffic controllers naturally do everything in their power to prevent this but that didn't stop me from once replying thusly when ATC cleared me "direct Hotel Echo Lima" -- me: "Go direct to HEL!". I had been waiting for years for that opportunity and thought it was funny as - um - HEL, but I do realise I was the only one on frequency who probably did... Now it's out of my system, however. Next time I'll just spell it out :)

Scott Johnson said...

There's an old joke about a fellow who says he didn't mind the hospital food at all, but never was able to develop a taste for that Kentucky Jelly.

As someone is bound to have pointed out by now, Cincinnati is in Ohio; only its airport is across the river in Covington, Kentucky. That's why the airport ID is KCVG.

Anonymous said...

KCVG is actually in Hebron, KY. Covington is a nearby decent sized city that is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio.